You don’t have to fit the common criminal stereotype to be charged with a criminal offense. Regular people are arrested every day, often for a mistake or a misunderstanding. But when you are facing a criminal charge, that’s little reassurance. Even a disorderly conduct charge has the potential to change your life in a significant manner; understanding your rights and having an experienced advocate on your side can minimize this impact.

Disorderly Conduct Charge? Call (800) 949-1736.

People find themselves facing Massachusetts disorderly conduct charges every day. Often these charges are levied when a frustrated police officer gets annoyed or aggravated. But annoyance of one officer is rarely enough for a conviction.

Massachusetts Disorderly Conduct Laws

What is disorderly conduct? Massachusetts law defines a “disorderly person” as one who acts with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm; or recklessly creates a risk thereof by

  • Engaging in fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or
  • Creating a hazard or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.

While annoying an officer or generally being a pain in their butt might not win you any points, it certainly doesn’t fulfill all of the aspects of this offense. Often an officer will overestimate the risk you create, making it seem as if your behavior has created a hazard or offensive condition.

If you attorney can show that the situation was misunderstood and possibly blown out of proportion, there’s a good chance the charges can be dropped.

Disorderly Conduct Penalties

If you are convicted of disorderly conduct in Massachusetts, this offense carries up to 6 months in jail.

In some situations, officer misinterpretation isn’t to blame for your arrest and charge. Perhaps you did engage in fighting or other actions that could be considered disorderly conduct. If this is the case it is your attorney’s job to advocate on your behalf, seeking to show the courts that you deserve mercy and a second chance.

Depending on your criminal record, your attorney may be able to work out a plea agreement with the prosecutor to ensure you don’t have to serve jail time. Instead, you may be allowed to serve your sentence within the community while on probation.

The specifics of your potential penalty and the likelihood that you’ll walk away with no consequences depend wholly on the facts of your case. Discussing all of the facts of your case with a criminal defense lawyer is the first step in ensuring the most positive result possible.

Fighting a disorderly conduct citation or charge

If you are issued a criminal citation for disorderly conduct to appear at a clerk magistrate’s hearing, you have an excellent chance to beat this charge and avoid a criminal offense on your record.

An experienced attorney can find the right argument to get a Magistrate to drop the charge at this hearing. The Clerk Magistrate has enormous discretion to not issue a charge, and clog up the courts with a criminal matter over a minor incident.

If your attorney can convince the Clerk Magistrate to not go forward because you are remorseful, or it was a minor or subjective incident where the cop may have overreacted, that is the best possible outcome for you.

In cases where you were arrested, there are still a number of ways to avoid a permanent criminal conviction on your record. These include pretrial probation, pretrial diversion, and other deferred prosection options like a continuance without a finding (CWOF). Call us to speak to a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts who can walk you through the possible options available to you.

If you’ve been charged with Massachusetts disorderly conduct, contact us to speak with a local defense lawyer that can help.